Monthly Archives

January 2021

Tower with reflective, mirrored window film

The Many Benefits of Solar Window Film

By Solar Window Film No Comments

What good is the dawn

That grows into day?

The sunset at night

Or living this way?

For I have the warmth of the sun

Within me at night

– “The Warmth of the Sun,” The Beach Boys

When Brian Wilson asked “what good is the dawn that grows into day?”, he probably wasn’t thinking about solar control window film. But in an odd way, the question applies—literally—to this uniquely advanced method to create energy efficiency, comfort, privacy, and protection in contemporary office buildings, highrises, and commercial properties.

When you think about it, a highrise, a big office building, or a large commercial property is kind of like a gigantic solar panel. By simply applying the latest solar window film to all the glass and windows in a building, you’ve created an energy-efficient ecosystem, with the ability to absorb or reflect the sun’s heat and penetrating solar rays throughout the year.

A brief history of solar window film

The original patent for solar window film dates all the way back to 1966. Since then, window film in general and solar window film, in particular, has gone through a series of evolutions and engineering advancements. While the original films were little more than tint, modern solar window films now bring a whole new set of features to the table, benefitting contractors, architects, planners, building managers, occupants, and tenants.

Let’s examine the primary benefits of solar control window film, including:

  • Cost savings through energy efficiency
  • Occupant comfort
  • Fade protection
  • Privacy and aesthetics
  • Glare reduction

Current multi-function window films like those in the 3M™ Safety & Security Window Film Solar Safety Series also include features like blast and intrusion protection.

Cost savings through energy efficiency

Solar control window film creates energy efficiency —and savings on heating and cooling costs —by managing the transmission of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, far- and near-infrared (IR), and visible light from the sun. By turning away the sun’s powerful rays, building managers and property owners can eliminate hotspots within a building, and insulate windows and glass from heat loss.

Of the solar heat entering a building, more than half is infrared light, yet over 40% is in the visible light range. Conventional window films lower both to provide good sun control performance. However, there are “wavelength-selective” films now available that are designed to block specific regions of the solar light spectrum, from infrared to ultraviolet. These films can be virtually clear, rejecting a very high percentage of IR while still allowing a very high percentage of natural daylight into the interior of the building.

By the numbers

In fact, modern solar control window films deliver up to 99.9% rejection of UV rays up to 97% infrared energy rejection.

Windows account for a major portion of cooling loads in any building. Across buildings in the U.S., 42% of the entire cooling load for residential buildings and 28% of the entire cooling load for commercial buildings are due to windows.*

Solar control window films save up to:

  • 19 kWh/ft2 on a single pane
  • 12 kWh/ft2 on a double pane

One final number: solar control window films can become carbon negative in as short as 6 months.

Occupant comfort

While energy savings is certainly important, another major benefit and factor in purchasing decisions for solar window films is occupant comfort. Solar control window films can reduce temperatures, hot and cold spots, as well as UV radiation (one of the leading causes of skin cancer).

Simply put, solar window films allow the sunny side of your building to be cooler. That means people are more comfortable, as one side of the building becomes overheated while the other is too cool.

The second most common concern in terms of occupant comfort that relates to windows is glare. And the most common approach to dealing with glare is by installing blinds or drapes.

However, blinds and drapes more often than not completely eliminate natural light, or create a patchwork dappling on the interior that can be distracting or aesthetically displeasing. And it’s safe to say blinds and drapes do next to nothing in terms of enhancing the insulative qualities of windows, not to mention windows’ energy efficiency.

Solar window films can also be used to address glare. Rather than obstructing the view, the right window film can optimize the transmission of light through a window best suited for each unique situation. A building with virtually clear solar window film can transmit as little as 9% of the visible light, should that best fit the room or interior space. 

Fade protection

One big concern for business owners and managers of commercial properties is the fading that can occur when objects are placed in the path of direct sunlight within the interior of a building. As a general rule, ultraviolet light is responsible for approximately 40% of the fading, visible light about 25% and solar heat about 25%. The remaining 10% can be attributed to humidity, pollutants, interior lights, dye anchorage, and more. 

Solar window films will typically reject 99% of the UV radiation, and depending on the film chosen, it can reject as much as 79% of solar heat, as well as 91% of visible light. Clearly, installing window film has a significant impact on the rate at which fading occurs.

Interior furnishings and property are particularly vulnerable to UV light, visible light, and solar heat that penetrates a building’s windows and glass. And though solar window film can’t stop fading altogether, it can be very effective in mitigating and delaying fading, prolonging the life of furnishings and property.

Privacy and aesthetics

Think of your building as a massive shell. Some shells look distinct and polished, some blend into the surrounding environment, some stick out like a sore thumb. The choice you make in solar window film has a great impact on the exterior look, aesthetic appeal, and privacy of the building itself. Fortunately, there are an abundance of designs, patterns, and privacy levels you can choose from in solar window film to deliver the aesthetic appeal and privacy level you want for both occupants and passersby.

Another part of the aesthetic equation includes reflectivity and transmission. Older, outdated window films often harshly reflected light, which created a real disruption for people traveling near or around the building. With modern solar window films, reflectivity can be entirely eliminated, and decorative touches like frosting or shading can offer a unique look and a specific level of privacy. In fact, the latest multi-optical layer film technologies such as those found in the 

3M™ Sun Control Window Film Prestige Series have no metals and thus are 5G safe — as well as non-corrosive and non-reflective.

Solar window films can improve exterior aesthetics by providing a uniform, polished look to the building facade. Buildings with reflective-type window film look updated and contemporary. An updated facility also makes occupants and tenants visually aware of the efforts being made to maintain a high aesthetic level and current, modern look.

Here comes the sun

Solar window film offers so much more today than in its original 1966 inception. And if The Beach Boys were tapped to write a jingle for solar window film today, they’d have a plethora of themes to explore.

Take a deep dive into solar window film with NGS’ James Beale in this webinar.

* Source: “Buildings in the 21st Century,” US Department of Energy, International Green Building Summit, 2010.


Photo by Bruno Passos from Burst

3M Window Film

More Than Window Tint

By Building Security, Safety & Security Films, Solar Window Film, Window Film No Comments

How 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film Protects People and Property

Imagine yourself in your office building. A typical Monday, when you meet with your team in the large conference room. 

The weather forecast didn’t call for anything unusual. But tornadoes don’t listen to meteorologists. In fact, there’s a twister headed directly for your building right now: you can see it approaching through the large glass window.

This scenario is extreme, but it does happen: extreme weather, earthquakes, and even explosions can lead to showers of shattered glass cascading on people and property inside your office, school, or highrise.

Add to this list of threatening scenarios intrusions, blasts and explosions, spontaneous glass breakage, and even graffiti, and you begin to see how safety and security window film can really help to protect both the people and the property within your building.

Advancements in window film engineering

When you think of window film, you probably think of shading, tint, and perhaps protection from the heat and cold. But did you know that advanced window films can also prevent dangerous shattering due to extreme weather, break-ins, and even explosions?

Films like 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film are engineered for a multitude of purposes, including protection from harmful UV rays, privacy, and energy efficiency. But these window films are also being applied to schools, hotels, retail stores and commercial, government, and medical buildings for another, invaluable reason: anti-shattering capabilities that hold glass together when catastrophic events, riots, or break-ins occur.

3M security films also come in dual-function options such as the new multi-optical layer, a high heat-rejection Prestige line. It is virtually clear but rejects almost 50% of the total solar energy while providing security benefits.

 3M™ Safety and security window films typically serve one or more of these purposes:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these categories to get a full sense of the benefits of these highly engineered, purpose-built window films.

Intrusion protection

One of the most common reasons for security film to be installed on a residence or commercial property is for intrusion protection. Windows and glass doors are among the weakest points on the building envelope and are often targeted as an entry point for criminals. Billions are lost due to property-related crimes in the U.S. alone, and unfortunately, fortified glass is often too expensive when considering security upgrades.  

Security window films and attachments are used to help deter intruders and would-be thieves from entering into a space, building, or property. With properly installed security window film, intruders will have a considerably more difficult time penetrating or breaking through the glass, adding precious minutes to the crime timeline—and giving police or security the chance to respond before a theft takes place.

Blast mitigation

In this day and age, the possibility of an explosion or blast near highrises, government and federal buildings, offices, shops, commercial properties, hotels, hospitals, and public spaces is unfortunately real. And if the worst actually does happen, broken glass shards from windows and doors are one of the leading causes of fatalities and property damage.

Some of the most advanced safety window films being developed today by 3M™ can actually mitigate the damage caused by glass shards resulting from an explosion or blast. Though it’s not possible to mitigate completely, these films can significantly reduce the penetration of glass shards into the interior of a building, which means a lower possibility of injury or fatality to people, and less damage to property.

Windstorm protection

Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Severe windstorms. Extreme weather events like these happen more and more frequently in the 21st century, and without question, they often have the force to break glass.

Fortunately, there are safety window films designed specifically for windstorm protection and mitigation. These films are engineered to keep shattered or compromised glass in the window frame should a severe windstorm or other extreme weather events occur. And when that shattered glass is kept within the frame, there is much less chance of injury or damage to people, patrons, and property.


We’ve all seen it: unsightly graffiti or tagging on storefront windows, bus stop terminals, bathroom mirrors, and public buildings. Though not as severe as an explosion or hurricane, graffiti is a much more common occurrence and one that gives building owners and property managers constant headaches.

Anti-graffiti window films are designed to create a layer of protection over bus stand ads, transit stop banners, storefront and retail windows, school windows and glass, and even mirrors. When a vandal tries to scratch, gouge, acid etch, or tag the glass, they are in fact tagging a film that can easily be removed and replaced.  If the vandalism is removed sooner rather than later, this often discourages repeat offenses, and it also preserves the image of the shop or advertisement. 

An anti-graffiti window film is a sacrificial film layer applied over the glass, either on the interior or the exterior. Typical areas where anti-graffiti films are used are retail stores, schools, bathroom stalls and mirrors, advertisements and banners, mass transportation and metro transit stops.

Protection is paramount

When it comes to your commercial property, business, or building, the protection of your patrons, tenants, employees, and property is the highest priority. And though no building is totally impenetrable, modern safety and security window films go a long way in mitigating injury, damage, and even fatality, and also serve as a significant deterrence to intrusion, theft, and vandalism.


Learn more about how 3M™ window film can secure your commercial property in our AIA accredited webinar: Protect People and Property with 3M™ Safety and Security Window Film

Contact Us to request a quote on making your property more secure with NGS and 3M™ window film

U.S. capitol building with police tape

Could the Raid on the Capitol Have Been Prevented with Riot Glass?

By Building Security, Government, Safety & Security Films No Comments

When a mob of insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, many of us watching the events on television were wondering: they’re not going to actually breach the building, are they? Police and security will turn the mob back, right?

Then, the unthinkable actually happened, as rioters broke glass windows and forced entry inside.

Once those windows were broken, a last line of defense against intruders was obliterated. Eventually, the Senate Chamber and congressional offices were overtaken, and a joint session of Congress was interrupted. When it was all over, five people had lost their lives.

The fallout from this seditious event grows as each day goes by, including an ongoing investigation that led to the discovery of two pipe bombs, the pursuit of several at-large insurrectionists, and a pending impeachment of the President of the United States. 

Could all of this have been prevented by simply replacing the windows of the Capitol building with Riot Glass?

Windows are the weak point

Security professionals, landlords, and building managers know all too well that windows are the most vulnerable points in a structure. Whether it’s a storefront window, a glass door, or the window of a congressional staffer’s office, when an intruder decides to enter a building with malicious intent, they are most likely to breach a window.

When you watch footage of the Capitol invasion, you’ll see rioters specifically targeting pane-glass windows, breaking and smashing them with ease. Once the windows were taken out, intruders poured through and into the interior of the building, where they ran roughshod over the Senate Chamber and overtook congressional offices.

For these invaders, breaching the glass windows was probably the easiest part of their insurrectionist afternoon. The windows shattered quickly, as we all could see in the media coverage.

What if the windows didn’t shatter so readily? What if the glass was somehow reinforced, preventing shattering and remaining intact and in place? Could such a defensive strategy have possibly prevented the sacking of the Capitol?

How Riot Glass and safety and security window film work

Riot Glass is a patented framing and clear ArmorPlast shield system made from a combination of polycarbonate and plastics that mechanically anchors to your windows and doors for maximum strength. The framing system comes in anodized clear and bronze, custom fit to your doors and storefront window system to create a protective shield that is always working. The panels are scratch-coated, solar UV treated, and extremely durable.

Riot Glass stops break-in attempts using sledgehammers, crowbars, knives, pickaxes, bricks, blocks, bats, and more. In short, it stops rioters and looters from getting in and has proven more effective than any other forced-entry protection system including boarding, roll-down gates, and security window film. 

Watch the video to see Riot Glass in action:

Advanced safety and security window films like those in the 3M™ Safety & Security Window Film family are specifically designed to mitigate shattering and to reduce the risk of flying glass. With the right window film application, vulnerable windows and glass—even those in the Capitol building—gain an extra layer of protection, becoming less likely to be penetrated by bricks, rocks, sticks, and crutches, and even if broken, far less likely to shatter.

Would the ransacking of the Capitol building have been thwarted with window film alone? Probably not. But there is no question that if those windows had been protected with powerfully engineered safety and security window film, rioters and insurrectionists would have had a much more difficult time breaking the glass, and penetrating the threshold through the windows. And that precious time would have granted police and security more time to adequately respond.

The 2020 Nashville bombing

On December 25, 2020, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb inside a recreational vehicle parked in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Eight people were injured and dozens of buildings in the vicinity were damaged.

Although the motivations and outcomes of the Capitol raid and the suicide bombing are entirely different, there is no question that safety and security window film could have mitigated much of the damage in Nashville. Broken glass and windows throughout the downtown area—had they been applied with quality safety window film—may not have shattered at all. And if they had, the spall effect, or penetration of shattered glass, would have been reduced or prevented entirely.

A simple measure of safety and security

The safety, security, and strength of a building’s windows and glass can be further enhanced with 3M Impact Protection Attachment Systems. These combination systems attach filmed window to the window frame, creating a robust shield that significantly outperforms window film-only systems. This extra level of protection guards against impact energy from earthquakes, forced-entry events, and bomb blasts. 

The Capitol riot and the Nashville bombing were tragic events, sobering as they remind us of how vulnerable we are even in the places we feel are the most secure. With the simple application of quality Riot Glass or safety and security window film, we can protect people and property, reduce the risk of flying glass, ensure less business disruption, and mitigate against the injurious and damaging effects of natural disasters, break-ins, and explosions.

Contact us today to learn more about how you can use Riot Glass and 3M Safety and Security Window Film to keep your people and property safe.


Photo by Pierre Blaché from Pexels